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360-degree web photos: How useful?
I would be interested in opinions and/or experiences regarding the utility of 360-degree panoramic photographs such as the type that are being promoted by Ipix (www.ipix.com). Do they really communicate a sense of space as well as they seem to? Real estate agents and new-construction architects seem to be using it increasingly frequently; I think they might be an architect's (and a digital writer's) illustration dream, but I have no personal experience using them, and there may be some pitfalls. Anyone have experience with it yet?

Dick Doughty
Assistant Editor
Aramco World
Houston TX USA
Dick Doughty
Responses
 
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I apologize for sending and unfinished message. To conclude I do not think these cameras are performant enough to be used for illustration purposes yet, and as I said after seeing a demonstration recently, I still think a small digital video camera will give you the same information.

It certainly is worth watching the evolution of this technology, and that is where I would stay for the moment.
Robin Oldacre-Reed
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I have been using QuickTime VRs (360� panoramic images) for three years now to document architecture in the US and India and this is what I have found:

1. QuickTime VRs are quite effective in documenting architecture and the immediate landscape.

2. They are superior to a collection of still photos because VRs are seamless, spatial images. Superior to videos because the viewer can control the speed and direction of what he or she is viewing.

3. They are less effective in documenting distant views because the wide-angle lens reduces distant features substantially.

4. QuickTime VRs can be shared on the web or on a CD-ROM, thus allowing dissemination of visual, spatial information at low cost.

To see examples go to my Anasazi Great Houses web site at:
www.its.uidaho.edu/chaco/

Anne Marshall
University of Idaho
Anne Marshall
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I think they can be very useful, of course, with limitations.

My opinion on this subject was shaped by a project that I saw on the Yildiz Technical University webpage a while back, called "The Virtual Harem", which unfortunately is no longer there. The opening page was a map of the Topkapi Palace harem. Clicking on any part of the map would take you into that room in 3D (excluding the roof, which I think it the big limitation), and you can pan around the walls and click on doors to go to the next room. It was an incredible help on understanding how the plan works, also on identifying photos that I had in hand to write captions.

I think there's great potential to do this kind of study for a lot of monuments, especially residential structures which have more rooms than a religious structure.

Another place that I've seen not 360-degree photographs but similar technology is the Gertrude Bell archives where her photographs are shown with zoom and panning capabilities, increasing many times the viewing capacity. See, for example, Photo A_007 Historical photos and other photos that would need closer scrutiny such as ArchNet slide collection, in my opinion, could really profit from such technology. It'd be great, for example, if we could do this for a end-of-the century Panorama of Istanbul that is currently shown on ArchNet.

Ozgur Basak Alkan
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I think the following example of Virtual Sidon gives a good feel for the 3D built environment of this ancient city. I will be travelling to Saida, Lebanon, soon and wanted to get a feel for the city. I think this example conveys a good sense of the city and the harbour shape quite well. Obviously nothing replaces the real thing. You can see the Great Mosque in the vicinity of the CBD.

Herein is the URL:

http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Reef/2849/saida.html


Would welcome other examples of Islamic city environments.

Michael "Yusuf" Stitt
Michael Yusuf Stitt
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I have seen a Software here in Riyadh , it's called " COOL 360 " it's for Alligning Panoramic Photo and giving it the perfect balance with colours, contrast and Brightness.
Give it a Try .. our Tutors Always ask us to Get 360 views for the Project Site to imagin and work on .
Nasser Al Mangour
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I have been putting together grant applications to restore two madrassas in Fez. While in Morocco last summer, I met an Austrian couple creating a tourism website with 3D images and 360 degree panoramic photographs. As a favor, they photographed four of the Merinid Madrassas for me to use as supplemental material in a grant application. Although, truth be told, I still haven't found funding, the images are a terrific tool for this kind of application. I recommend that you check their website and contact Regina Leibetseder at their helpdesk if you have questions (desk@panograph.at).
Bonnie Kaplan
360-degree web photos: How useful?
360 degree photos do create distortions, but they can be invaluable for making the average person understand and FEEL the space. They instantly give a comprehensive picture of Being in the place and are well placed in Real Estate and Tourism applications.

In terms of technology, I have experimented with Quicktime VR as well as IPIX - but I would strongly advocate against it. Both require weildy plugins for displaying and are particularly unsuitable on the web. For someone slightly adept in correcting images, a better way would be to "stitch" images taken with a digital camera - often such software is included. To display images, sometimes the panorama itself is enjoyable - for landscape applications - but to emulate VR, the a simple Flash file can do a darn good job. Try www.flashkit.com for a sample app.
Mustafa Zafar
360-degree web photos: How useful?
I have been experimenting with my students with multi-node panoramic virtual tours. Some examples could be seen at: http://www.engg.uaeu.ac.ae/a.okeil/endless-tour/index.html

I find them very useful as a photographic recording method in site visits. I beleive they could be used in presentations of design proposals as well.

The new trend is to use a parabolic type of mirror which captures the panorama in one shot. A special software deals with the rest of the job. There are even solutions for panoramic videos.
Ahmad Okeil
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